SARANAC - Cornell Cooperative Extension of Clinton County is in the early stages of coordinating a week-long summer program for youths and is looking for feedback.
The organization wants input from members of the community regarding what programs they'd like to see offered, said CCE 4-H educator and program co-organizer Alexa King. The idea is to provide children in grades K-5 with a program that will appeal to them and educate them at the same time.
"One of the strengths of our programs is we can pick from so many different things," King said of CCE's 4-H curriculum.
In a meeting she and program co-organizer Darlene Medeiros had with Saranac Town Supervisor Joe Gerardi, the three tossed around ideas that included photography workshops and lessons on gardening, among others. The success of past programs hosted by CCE in other communities, said King, has been centered around environmental and science-related projects. However, what kids would find interesting in Saranac might be different, she admitted.
"I'd like to do something within those fields of interest," she said. "But, like any good youth program, the activity works better if it's something the kids are interested in."
What is known at this point is the program will be held at Picketts Corners Park on Bowen Road, taking advantage of the pavilion area where projects can be coordinated. Also, the program is expected to last one hour per day and be offered free of charge, said King, who cited a need for free and inexpensive activities for families in this day and age.
"We understand the financial challenges that families are facing lately," said King.
Most importantly, Medeiros said the program will help fill a need in the community.
"Parents are always looking for something for their kids to do in the summer, because after a few weeks out of school, they're already bored," said Medeiros. "And, there really isn't much out there for Saranac kids to do. That's why we thought this would be a good idea."
Medeiros and King will be surveying people in the community for summer program ideas in the coming weeks, hoping to have a formal program ready for promotion before the end of the school year. The two will also be seeking responses through the town's newsletter, the "Town Crier," and through phone and e-mail.
"We want to know what the kids will want to do, because there's no sense in us having a cooking program out there if no kids will be interested in cooking," said Medeiros.
"We want to get the parents involved as much as possible, too," she continued. "They will be more than welcome to stay and participate with us because we don't want it to be thought of as a baby-sitting service. We want everyone to know what 4-H has available."
Gerardi said he's proud King and Medeiros are working diligently toward hosting the program while utilizing the town's resources in Picketts Corners Park.
"If [Alexa King's] unmistakable enthusiasm to organize this outreach program is echoed by the families in Saranac, the summer of 2009 ought to be memorable for those participating youths," said Gerardi.
Those interested in offering their input may contact King or Medeiros at 561-7450. King may also be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and Medeiros may be reached at email@example.com.